WASHINGTON — A member of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday the al-Qaida affiliated group behind the deadly attack on an upscale shopping mall in Kenya recruited up to 50 people from Somali American communities in the U.S.
U.S. Rep. Pete King said that between 15 and 20 of the Somali Americans al-Shabab recruited remain active.
The New York Republican says the concern is that some may return and “use their abilities on the U.S.” King said he assumes the FBI and local law enforcement are looking at Somali American communities to make sure no follow up attacks are planned for the United States.
King told ABC’s “This Week” he was briefed on the Nairobi attack in which dozens were killed. He likened the incident to the 2011 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry called Saturday’s assault “an enormous offense against everybody’s sense of right and wrong.”
Kerry, who is in New York for meetings at the United Nations, on Sunday described the attackers as “ruthless and completely reckless terrorists.”
He spoke Sunday with Somalia’s foreign minister and U.N. ambassador.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said U.S. law enforcement, military and civilian personnel in Nairobi are providing advice and assistance to the Kenyan authorities.
She said five Americans were among the scores of people injured in the attack by Islamic extremists, but the U.S. has no reports of any American deaths.